Facebook And Google Dominate App Usage – Does Anyone Else Stand A Chance?

phoneloveNo one would disagree that smartphone users are spending a ton of time in apps, and here are some more numbers to prove it.

A report released Thursday by comScore found that apps now account for more than 50% of all digital media time spent, though it’s interesting to note that mobile growth isn’t vampirically sucking the life out of traditional web usage, which actually grew 1% between June 2013 and June 2014.

Not only are users spending more time that ever in mobile apps, they’re spending more time than ever in particular apps. According to comScore, users spend 42% of their in-app time in their single most-used app, whatever that may be – although it’s not too difficult to figure out what those apps most likely are.

The comScore study noted that the various offerings from Facebook, Google, Apple, Yahoo, Amazon and eBay account for the top nine out of 10 most-used apps. Facebook tops the list as the app with both the largest audience and the biggest share of time spent.

But rather than getting discouraged, Adam Lella, a marketing insights analyst at comScore and one of the authors of the report, said that smaller apps looking to monetize still have a chance – they just need a strategy.

“It certainly means there might be some challenges for smaller players on this medium, but success is also very possible,” Lella said. “We have seen some standalone apps achieve huge audiences on mobile, for example SnapChat and Pandora, while others have found ways to monetize through non-advertising business models that don’t require competing with the larger companies on audience size, like Uber and certain gaming apps.”

Other takeaways from the report include the very different behavioral and demographic profiles between Android and iOS users. Not only do iPhone app users skew slightly younger than Android users – 43% of iPhone users are between 18 and 34 vs. 39% of Android users – but they also have more earning power, with iPhone users making about 40% more than their Android-using counterparts. 

The types of apps they’re attracted to also varies by device, with iPhone users spending more time consuming media (general news, radio, photos, social networking and weather), and Android users focusing their attention on email and search, which the report attributes to “the strong native presence of Google Search and Gmail on the platform.”

“What consumers are doing on their apps and which apps they are visiting varies tremendously by age demographic,” Lella said. “For advertisers this means, ‘Know your audience.’”

That combined with better measurement solutions will lead advertisers to allocate more budget to mobile. It’s coming, Lella said.

“The main factor holding back mobile ad monetization is the lack of established infrastructure supporting the flow of ad dollars,” Lella said. “Measurement of mobile is still catching up with desktop, and it’s not fully integrated into the planning and buying processes. The good news is that many of these market enablers are coming into place, and as they get better integrated into existing workflows and processes, the dollars will begin to flow more freely.”

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